Last time, I touched on the importance of leaving the correct label on sin to prevent someone from mistaking the seriousness of it and consequently suffering the consequences.
Over the next few weeks, I want to investigate how easily sin, if not avoided, can cause a lethal dose of 'poison' to rob a person of life.
It is important to begin at the beginning, where this poison was concocted by the arch enemy of God, our adversary, the devil (1 Peter 5:8). The 'poison' that is easily available to human nature and leaves us separated from God is pride.
Like sin, pride has at its center an 'I' issue. Anyone who finds themselves under the influence of this lethal potion will have the same kind of 'I' problem also. When 'I' is in the center of our focus on life, the death of something is sure to follow.
God's Word is consistent on the danger of pride and reminds us that "The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished" (Proverbs 16:5). Pride in oneself infects the soul causing a devastating effect on relationships.
The word 'detest' means 'to abhor'--to so deeply dislike that you separate yourself from it.
Because of this poison, God supernaturally separates Himself from that soul leaving them to their wicked devices until such time that the consequence of that sin turns the soul toward humility and repentance. "God resists the proud of heart but provides grace for the humble." James 4:6
To clarify, the deadly poison of pride that God detests in NOT a healthy self-respect or a legitimate sense of personal dignity. This poison's destructive nature is best seen in a haughty attitude that thinks more highly of oneself than one should (1 Corinthians 10:12). It is an ego run amuck and God abhors it!
I read once where the poison of pride makes everyone sick except for the one who has taken it.
The effect is soon heard or seen in someone believing and consequently behaving like they are somehow worthy of such high esteem. This poison will not cause a person to stagger. Instead, the lethal consequence of this poison is revealed by a person's swagger. This 'potion' causes a person to strut around like a rooster in the barnyard 'crowing' to anyone within earshot about who they are, how they are and why they are necessary in your life. It's repulsive for everyone except the one who has taken a big dose of it.
The late Dr. Billy Graham said--"Pride may take various forms. Spiritual pride trusts in one's own virtue rather than in the grace of God. Intellectual pride gives its possessor self-confidence rather than God-confidence. Pride in material things enthrones self and displaces God.; secondary things are exalted to the place of first importance. Social pride manifests itself in arrogance and status. All forms of pride emanate from the haughty human heart, and pride is the sin that God hates most." end
Don't alter the label on the poison of pride! Read it carefully! Look closely at the side-effects before you 'dose' yourself with it. Specifically, the side-effects that remind us that a haughty spirit can be devastating to relationships first with God and then with others. Therefore, selfish pride is never useful to God!
When the temptation comes to exalt yourself (and it will), pay careful attention to the label on the devil's potion. Should you dose yourself with this poison, remember that humbling yourself before God and confessing your sin (1 John 1:9) is the only antidote that counteracts the deadly impact of pride's lethal effect being released in your soul.
Read the label and refuse this 'poison' when tempted by the flesh. You will discover life to be much more rewarding!
(ref.--'Wisdom for Each Day'--Billy Graham--pg. 88)
Additional Fasting & Prayer Opportunity-- Anyone/everyone is encouraged to fast from breakfast and lunch on Wednesday, April 6th and pray for the community of Hinton. In addition to this personal opportunity to join God in conversation throughout the day on Wednesday, those who are available are invited to meet for prayer at the gazebo on the corner of HWY 281 and Main in Hinton at 1:00 p.m.